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LARRY KUDLOW: Donald Trump had a big night

Fox Business host Larry Kudlow says former President Donald Trump "looked and sounded presidential" at the Fox News town hall.

Donald Trump had a big night last night at the Fox town hall. He looked and sounded presidential. He stayed on message with key policies while Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis spent two hours frying each other's brains out, to no purpose whatsoever. Very few people watched that debate.

Those that did will walk away in a foul mood. My guess is Mr. Trump gained a lot of votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, while those two lost a lot in Iowa and New Hampshire. In what I thought was the turning point in the Trump town hall last night, and maybe one of the turning points in his entire campaign, was this moment. Take a listen:

DONALD TRUMP: I'm not going to have time for retribution. We're going to make this country so successful again. I'm not going to have time for retribution, and remember this: Our ultimate retribution is success.

"Our ultimate retribution will be our success." If he stays with that line, it is absolutely fantastic. It's a great line. It completely turns the tables on all these phony Joe Biden arguments about democracy, insurrection, dictatorships and retribution. What former President Trump was saying is that our successful performance will be our calling card, and over and over in the town hall, he managed to stay with that theme and avoided grievances and negativity.


His first actions on day one? He's talking about opening the fossil fuel spigots to produce more liquid gold. Not only to conquer inflation at home, but defund our enemies like Russia and Iran overseas. Secondly, on day one, he's going to close the border, restore Remain in Mexico, Title 42, build the wall, start deporting illegals and go back to the successes of his first term.

He will cut taxes. He will wipe out Biden's regulatory assault on small businesses. He will restore prosperity and national security. He did it once, he would like another chance to do it a second time, even better.

It was a positive, optimistic message. He teased everybody by saying, yeah, he already knows who his vice president is going to be, but he ain't talking just yet about specifics. Yes, he is willing to mend fences, already praising Chris Christie for mercifully dropping out of the race.

What about the charge of chaos? President Trump calmly reminded the crowd that it's the Bidens creating chaos. Chaos at the border. Chaos with their appeasement and foreign policy weaknesses.

Chaos with Israel in the Middle East, where there was peace during the Trump years. Trump said, time and time again, by the way, that no new wars were started under his first term. Chaos in Afghanistan. Chaos in the schools and the lawless streets and the two-tiered justice system and its election year interference.

Is there a dictator? Trump is not the one trying to keep Biden off of state ballots. It's the other way around, isn't it? Retribution? Trump never went after Hillary Clinton, though he could have in his first term. Nor did he go after James Comey — remember him? Or Peter Strzok. Or Lisa Page. Or Adam Schiff. Or any of the crazy, phony, lying Russian hoax people, but he didn't go after any of them. Remember?

Some folks might want to remember that, and how different Trump was from Joe Biden. I dare say — for anybody watching Mr. Trump's town hall last night who can step back from the details and specifics, what you saw was a president, a leader, a man of experience who knows how to handle tough issues, crowds, interviewers, foreign leaders, and economic problems. He's a strong leader. Trump tough. He's done this before. He'll be even better the next time.

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the January 11, 2024, edition of "Kudlow." 

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